Tag Archives: auto

Everyone Loves A Charade

stupid-paradeSo I went to a parade the other day. I was curious to re-experience the phenomenon since it had been quite some time. The last time I saw a parade was from within as a member of the high school’s marching band playing my trombone.

Yeah, it’s really been that long. I avoid public events religiously. I recently lived ten years in a small town. During that time I successfully avoided all the parades, county fairs, classic car shows and even the yearly carnivals festively known to the locals as “dirt bowls.” I’m a hardcore avoider and parade dodger.

The parade started with the police and fire departments showing off their rides. Meh. I grudgingly gave them a pass since this is apparently the traditional way to start a parade. I fleetingly wondered how much it was costing me.

Then came some beauty queens riding in the back of convertibles. Meh. Mildy amoosing.

This was followed by the “citizen of the year” aka a person I don’t know in car.

At last, the grand marshal. A person in a car. I was starting to swoon from … too … much … excitement. Suddenly I realized I could have been back at home watching Star Trek: The Animated Series on Netflix.

In case you missed it, the theme of the parade was “Undying Love For The Internal Combustion Engine.”
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Trite Whine Griever

The short bus just got cooler.

Hollywood is out of ideas. Thankfully, Detroit is not. They started a revolution with the legendary cup holder and they haven’t checked their rear-view ever since.

The man who said, “Hey, let’s put a television set in a car.” That dude is an automotive god.

Cars can talk to you. Does this ring a bell? “The door is a jar.” Oh yeah? Well your momma was a motherfucking toaster!

If you ever get bored and want to learn absolutely nothing about cars, my advice is to watch a modern day car commercial. You’ll learn everything there is know except anything about actual cars. These days that primarily consists of sound systems and GPS devices. “Hello, car. Play Moby.” Holy shit! The car stereo plays Moby! We really are made of stars! How much extra do I have to pay to upgrade this baby to the super slutty female voice.

“Make me go left, Master. Make me go right. Put me in park and drive me.”

I hope that’s not real leather.

Oops. I digress. I forgot this shiny metal box has wheels. And that it moves and stuff. And, if your attention wavers for just a single nanosecond, you can squash people like bugs or even take yourself out SVA style. (Single Vehicle Accident. Accept no substitutes.)

One sec. Just let me finish this Tweet. Almost there ... Aaaaiiiieeeee!!! Hot water burn baby!!! Kmart sucks.

So what is Detroit’s next whopper of an automotive idea? Something known as the “connected car.” You see, they are under the impression that people get off on a steady stream of information. If it’s good enough for your iPhone, iPad or iPod it’s good enough for your car, right?

Bring on the features that tech-savvy consumers want like a 17″ dashboard screen that can check Facebook or 8″ touch screens for controlling your music.

And let us not forget Ford Motor Co. that offers the ability for drivers to receive their Twitter feeds. Said one driver, “It’s a little bit distracting.” No shit. Ya think?

Thanks to modern technology you can now read your stream while you drive into a stream. I call that a win-win!

No word yet on the ability to send tweets from your car, but that doesn’t daunt me. I’m going to jump ahead and imagine some of the tweet possibilities. I figure it might go down a little something like this:

“Hello, Candy Bubbles.”

“Hello, Master. Voice print authorization accepted. Are you going to turn me on?”

“Yeah. Do it.”

“All cylinders are thrusting and pistons are pumping, Master. My juices are really flowing now. Awaiting your orders, Master.”

“You know, Candy. We could quite literally have sex right now. You know I love that seat-belt adjustment thing you do. But I think that’s going to have to wait. For now I’m just going to send a few tweets. After that, you can load me up a nude Tayne.”

“You tease!”

As always, my imagination ran wild. Just what sort of tweets could you send from the car? The possibilities are endless!

  • Some bastard just cut me off.
  • The car in front of me has “Obama 2012” and “NRA” stickers. I’m reporting him as a drunk driver.
  • At protest in Hummer. Getting mixed results. Probably should have opted for the bullet proof windows. #Egypt
  • I’m driving by a McDonald’s and I’m not going in. #MorallySuperior
  • I hate it when people killed in auto accidents spoil my commute. #late
  • Pitch is out! I can’t hold altitude!  She’s breaking up, she’s break— #bionic
  • Detroit, we have a problem.
  • In-house drive-by was a successful get-together. Proceeding to next destination. #RATM
  • Well I’ll be. I can drive 55.
  • Thank god for milk jugs. I’m literally streaming in my car.
  • Just crashed through barrier, flying down canyon. Estimate I got two seconds left… #sucks
  • I was caller 13 and just won Justin Bieber tix! #beliebers
  • Just saw loser driving and talking on a cell phone. #angry #fail
  • Wiener One is mobile. I say again: Wiener One is on the move. Here’s a pic to prove it.*
  • Hey, Paul. My iPhone just notified me you’re in the car ahead. I’m literally following you. Get it? Ha ha ha!
  • Do you know the way to San Jose? No, seriously. Do you? #lost
  • I brake for internets.
  • Life is full of potholes.
  • I just found the longest red light in the world.
  • I’m famous. I just caused an amber alert. #candy
  • The police don’t think I know about spike strips.
  • I am controlling transmission. #car #jokes
  • Oh, shit. A wall!!! #death

*Congressmen only.

Imagine what the world would be like without important information like this. I shudder to even think about it.

So, what would YOU tweet from your car if you could?

Short Story: Nice Car #BlogShorts

Nice Car
by Tom B. Taker

Bobby drafted suicidally behind Ricky as they screamed out of the turn.

Hitting turbulence, Ricky buffeted out of the groove.

There was … contact.

Bobby spun once; rubber left the ground.

This post is part of the BlogShorts challenge. June 2011 – 30 stories – 30 words – 30 days.

I have inches to go before I sleep

The streets were cold, dark and dreary. The skies completely overcast, gushing forth a slushy rain that was just on the verge of becoming snow. It was still dark out, that twilight time when day was scrabbling to establish a foothold but night was stubbornly refusing to let go.

I was at a stop sign waiting to cross the street. I checked for traffic to the right. Then left, then right again. The street was clear so I eased down on the accelerator and entered the intersection.

Something tickled the hairs on the back of my neck and caused me to look to the right. There, where only moments before the street had been empty, was a dark gray car, headlights off, barreling down in my direction.

Many questions crossed my mind in a very short period of time. “Why is he driving so fast? Where did he come from?” I realized the car must have been there but perfectly blended in, especially with his lights turned off. Somehow I had completely missed seeing the car and had pulled out right in front of him.

Time was up. I was vaguely aware of the skidding of his tires, in vain, on the wet asphalt and watched, in proverbial slow motion, as the car slid in approach to join up with mine. I only had time for one last thought before everything went dark for the very last time: “Fucking asshole!”

This little piece of fiction is inspired by actual events and actual assholes.

I still remember the incident above. It actually happened one dark morning on my way to work. I tend to look very carefully before crossing streets so I was mighty surprised by the magical appearance of a car rolling in out of the darkness and bearing down right at me. It scared the shit out of me.

The second response came a few seconds later. Why was this fucking asshole zooming through residential streets at a high rate of speed (much faster than the posted limit) and with his mother fucking headlights turned off? His car was effectively invisible. I had looked right at him yet seen nothing.

I’m not kidding. If you have the right conditions and the right color car, you might as well be a friggin’ stealth bomber. Super heroes and the military should be pursuing this technology.

People seem to forget that the act of transportation is a deadly one. For most of us driving around in our cars is so routine that we fail to give it the attention is deserves. These days “texting while driving” hogs most of the media spotlight but other things, like turning on your headlights when it is still dark out, are just as important. How many of us really concentrate on the act of driving? Personally I like to think about death the entire time I’m behind the wheel. It tends to keep me focused and on my toes. Fuck daydreaming, fiddling with the radio, cell phones, conversation, the kids in the back seat, etc. If something else needs my attention I’ll find a place to pull over.

Just the other day, on the highway right by my house, a grown adult person just a few years older than me was killed while trying to cross the street on foot. Perhaps he was trying to get his mail. A lot of people who used to live on rural roads seem to have attitude about that when that road turns into a fucking highway. Whatever. That’s just speculation on my part.

The press release from the police said pedestrian killed was dressed all in black. It was night. It was raining. The driver never even saw the fellow and was not cited by the police. This pedestrian forgot that the act of transportation, even while on foot, is a deadly business. Perhaps he assumed the driver would see him? If so, he assumed wrong. He won’t be making that mistake again anytime soon.

For some strange reason, people around here seemingly get off by not using their headlights. It’s the damnedest thing. I guess some of the small-minded think it is “cool” or something. “I’m too damn cool for headlights!” And you’ll see these cars with headlights off in all sorts of weather and times of day. And when I see them I mentally spit in their direction. Why the hell would you deliberately try to increase the odds of being in an accident? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

This morning I had just dropped off my wife at work when it happened again. I watched a dark sedan materialize right out of thin air and right in front of my very eyes. Dark conditions, dark car, rain coming down, poor visibility – and here is this son of a bitch driving with his lights off.

I momentarily had the urge to follow the bastard and show him the light, if you know what I mean. Instead, I merely shrugged and drove home as the opening paragraph to this post began to write itself…

I just don’t get it.

That’s liable to be a problem

Hot damn I just love being prophetic. Check out what I wrote about the boss circa July 12, 2010. (One week ago today.)

He doesn’t pay you to run errands in your own vehicle after work, either. Like when he demands that packages be dropped at the post office. He doesn’t offer to cover mileage, either. Incidentally, this is a dumb ass thing to do on his part. If an employee got in an accident and didn’t have insurance, it’s his business that would be on the hook. But those are the kinds of pennies he loves to pinch. (Source.)

That was only a week ago and it has already happened! This scenario went down exactly as I predicted. Why I’m not paid to be a prognosticator I’ll never know!

Our newest employee is just a youngster but has already been entrusted with all sorts of responsibilities and pressure even though he’s only been here a few months. That’s just the way this place works. The company’s needs dominate everything.

Late last week this employee was dispatched to pick up an order of ours from a local merchant. The employee hopped in his car and took off, not bothering to mention that he doesn’t have liability insurance. Oops. Of course, the boss wants what the boss wants. And what he wants is all employees doing his bidding no matter how dumb ass his decisions.

So the employee makes the pickup and then, one block down the street, picks up a bag of delicious fast food, then heads back to our world headquarters.

Suddenly tires screeched. The car in front had slammed on the brakes. Our hero slammed on his brakes, too, but it was too late. He skidded right into that car and hit hard.

Thankfully everyone was ok.

The other driver hopped out and checked to make sure our hero was ok. After getting an affirmative response, then came the $64,000 question. “Do you have insurance?”

Our hero had to say no.

Did I mention our hero was young? So young that he’s never been in an accident before and didn’t even know what to do. Yikes. Information was exchanged but our hero got nothing but a phone number. No name. Oops.

And, here’s a potentially important point. When the other driver said she was on her lunch break, our hero decided to add, “Me? I’m just running an errand for work.” SAY WHAT? This just might turn out to be an important plot point somewhere down the road, eh?

Cars were inspected. The other driver just had a minor mark on the bumper. The front of our hero’s car was crunched pretty bad. The other driver said she felt fine. Then she said, “You know what. I’m okay, the damage is light. You’d better get out of here before the cops show up or your car will get towed because you don’t have insurance.” An agreement was made that our hero would cover any damages so his record could be kept clean.

After an amazing amount of time, about 30 minutes or so, everything changed. The other driver called back and said, “You know what? My vehicle damage is worse than I originally thought. Also my back is starting to hurt.”

Our poor hero. The kibosh is about to come down and come down hard. You just got served.

The other driver continued, “I’m going to have to go ahead and notify my insurance company.”

Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen. That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over, what the fuck are we supposed to now, huh, what are we gonna do?

Those of us with a bit more life experience than our hero know what happens now. Once the insurance company is involved a police report becomes mandatory. That will put our hero on the hook for driving without insurance. (Which was, of course, a hideously dumb ass thing to do.) Which means that our hero is about to lose his driver’s license for a year and no doubt pay some fines.

Where it gets really interesting, however, is the part where our hero let slip that he was driving on company time. That makes the corporation potentially liable for any damages not covered by our hero’s insurance, which, of course, in this particular case is none. Our hero is poor and has no assets. Guess what that means? The corporation might be on the hook here.

Now this doesn’t sound like the most expensive accident of all time, but this could theoretically impact Mr. Penny Pincher’s pocketbook, and if so, our hero’s days here in the shithole are numbered. Our boss sure is a bloody genius for making employees do his tasks in their own vehicles and not making sure they have auto insurance.

Maybe it will all work out. It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds. Perhaps we can retain the services of Has Been, Never Was & Has Been LLP to save our hero and make sure the company pays? 🙂